Category: Science

Computer Models Aid Scientific Discovery

8232When things are too big, too small or impossible to manipulate safely, scientists turn to computer models to reproduce the behavior of natural and man-made systems.

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory’s popular series, Field Trip in the Lab, returns with four new lectures that look at research enabled by computational modeling. Each lecture highlights cutting-edge science presented by leading Lab researchers who are joined by master high school science teachers.

This year’s topics include exploring nature via computer simulation; fusion modeling; menacing microbes; and simulating the human heart on the world’s fastest supercomputer.

1761Computer Simulations: Exploring Nature with a Computer
Computer simulation reproduces the behavior of natural and man-made systems to help us understand, predict, and communicate. Vic Castillo, a research engineer at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, shows how computer simulation is used by LLNL scientists.

1761Fusion Modeling: Using Big Computers to Understand One of the Universes Biggest Secrets
Postdoctoral Fellow Frederico Fiuza discusses the challenges associated with fusion modeling, and how the outstanding computational resources and advanced computer graphics at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory help us to create a miniature Sun on Earth.

1761Menacing Microbes: Protein Models Reveal Secrets
Protein modeling is a computational tool that researchers use to see microbial proteins. Using LLNL’s high performance computational capabilities, 3D models are created of microbial proteins, providing visual tools to expose microbial secrets.

1761The Cardioid Project: Simulating the Human Heart on the World’s Fastest Supercomputer
Computational physicist David Richard describes how to build a computer model of a human heart, starting from an individual cell and then using data from an actual person to create a realistic representation of a beating heart.

Lectures and demonstrations are targeted to middle and high school students which makes them perfect for anyone curious about the amazing work made possible by fast computers with substantial calculation power.

The University of California is a partner in Lawrence Livermore National Security, which manages Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, a premier research and development institution for science and technology.

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Sharks Without Borders: A Binational Effort to Study and Conserve Threatened Shark Species

8232Sharks have been around, essentially unchanged, for 400 million years. Their size, power, and massive jaws fill us with terror and fascination. And even though sharks kill fewer people than dogs each year, media coverage and movies of shark attacks have portrayed them as insatiable killing machines.

They may rule the ocean, but sharks are vulnerable. They grow slowly, produce few young, and are exceptionally susceptible to overfishing. Sharks are being depleted faster than they can reproduce. This threatens the stability of marine ecosystems around the world. A healthy and abundant ocean depends on predators like sharks keeping ecosystems balanced.

Sharks migrating between California and Baja California, Mexico, are threatened by commercial fishing activity in both countries. Join Scripps shark expert Dan Cartamil as he explores the ecology and behaviors of these fascinating animals, and discusses the issues relevant to the sustainability of our local shark populations.

Watch Sharks Without Borders: A Binational Effort to Study and Conserve Threatened Shark Species.

Browse more programs in the Perspectives on Ocean Science series, taped at Birch Aquarium at Scripps since 2001.

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On Our Mind – Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer's Disease - On Our Mind An estimated 5 million Americans have Alzheimer’s disease and that number will continue to rise. The impact will be felt not just in the homes of the diagnosed but by their caregivers, their loved ones, their communities, and beyond.

The Brain Channel’s flagship series On Our Mind is endeavoring in the next few months to take a closer look at Alzheimer’s disease. Join Dr. William Mobley as he meets with those on the front lines of this disease to discuss current and potential therapies, testing, clinical trials, neuropathology, public policy and so much more.

Online now:

1761Agenda: Alzheimer’s Disease Cure and Care
There are more than 5 million Americans living with Alzheimer’s disease. San Diego County Supervisor Dianne Jacob joins William Mobley, MD, PhD to discuss how we can better manage this disease from a public policy standpoint.


1761Stem Cells and Alzheimer’s Disease
Can stem cells be a weapon in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease? Larry Goldstein, PhD director the the UC San Diego Stem Cell Program, joins William Mobley, MD, PhD to discuss how stem cells work and what possibilities they may unlock.


1761The Anatomy of Memory
How do we create and store memories? Larry Squire PhD joins William Mobley MD, PhD to dissect these processes and how we might use this knowledge to aid in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease.


1761The Role of Synapses in Memory
Roberto Malinow, MD, PhD joins William Mobley MD, PhD to discuss his recent study where memories were not only erased but restored in rats. Learn how findings of this study could lead to breakthroughs in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease.


Stay tuned to the Brain Channel for new installments in this informative series.

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Stories in the Ice

27845Much like the rings of a tree can tell us about its particular history, air bubbles trapped within large bodies of ice reveal secrets about our past climate and atmospheric composition.

Scientists can extract a wealth of information by drilling thousands of meters down into earth’s massive continental ice sheets and extracting ice cores. By examining the cores, they can go back in time to periods much colder and considerably warmer than today.

Jeff Severinghaus from Scripps Institution of Oceanography describes how he delves into earth’s climate past and what he’s learned. “Humans have changed the atmosphere due to burning fossil fuels and you see that very clearly in the ice core records,” he explains. While we may not see dramatic climate changes during our lifetimes, our grandchildren most certainly will.

Don’t miss this eye-opening look into our past — and our future.

Watch Stories in the Ice: What can past climate tell us about our future?

Browse more videos from Perspectives in Ocean Science.

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Telomeres: Tiny Keys to the Fountain of Youth?

telomeresOur time is limited. The clock is ticking. If we’re fortunate enough to escape disease, accidents, or war intact, then at some point our bodies eventually turn against us. What causes our bodies to age? Why don’t we simply live on (until that proverbial anvil lands atop our unsuspecting heads)?

Turns out, telomeres are one piece of the aging puzzle. They act like tiny timers – and once they run out, well, so do we. Chromosomes constantly replicate themselves through cell division, and telomeres are the protective end-parts of chromosomes. When chromosomes are copied, however, these telomeres shorten a little bit with each round of cell division.

The good news? This shortening is kept in check by the enzyme telomerase which elongates the telomeres. (Whew.)

The bad news? We have a limited supply of telomerase. (D’oh!)

What happens when our bodies cannot effectively elongate telomeres? The short answer is, we begin to age. People who cannot effectively elongate telomeres at a relatively youthful age may develop age-related diseases such as bone marrow failure, immune senescence and pulmonary fibrosis. This is known as Telomere Syndrome.

Carol Greider, 2009 Nobel Laureate and professor at Johns Hopkins University, discusses how this seemingly benign structure on the end of a chromosome – the telomere – can affect human disease and aging.

Watch this informative video to learn more: How can telomeres cause age-related disease?, part of the UC Berkeley Graduate Council Lecture series.

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